Social housing providers use AR to minimise COVID-19 risk


East Lothian Housing Association and MCP Property Services have introduced innovative technology that supports residents, whilst reducing face-to-face contact during the coronavirus pandemic

The new ‘Remote Assistance Capability’ has been developed by Totalmobile and allows the organisations’ housing maintenance and repair specialists to create a live video stream which is accessed by both the technical support officer and the resident, amid COVID-19 restrictions.

The two individuals can then remotely collaborate to identify and discuss maintenance requirements, and in the case of simple issues, the officer is able to provide live instructions so the resident can resolve it themselves.

Officers can also augment the video feed by pausing, capturing images and annotating instructions to further enhance the support and guidance provided.

East Lothian Housing Association, MCP Property Services and Totalmobile have trialled and deployed the solution to reduce unnecessary scheduled visits, thereby minimising contact between employees and residents during COVID-19.

It’s estimated the system will enable the organisations to resolve 10% of issues remotely, remove 80% of scheduled inspection visits and increase first-time fixes by 50%.

Protect the wellbeing of residents

Duncan Mackay, managing director of R3 Repairs at East Lothian Housing Association, said: “We’ve been working hard with Totalmobile to deploy this major innovation as quickly as possible so we can protect the wellbeing of residents and our employees.

“Our team covers a vast patch from Fife to Berwick and the Borders. The ability to deliver virtual technical support directly to the customer or to operatives on site will drive real savings and let us help remote residents much more effectively.”

Matt Clark, managing director of MCP Property Services, commented: “Working with Totalmobile means we can constantly innovate for customers, delivering solutions like this at breakneck speed.

“We can now be certain that a call-out is essential before sending someone on site. It also ensures quick fixes such as boiler re-sets can be completed by the residents themselves with close, real-time supervision from our expert team.

“I think the software will permanently transform the way we support customers, helping us further improve the speed, quality and efficiency of our service.”

Nick Jeffreys, Managing Director for Housing, Property and FM at Totalmobile, added: “COVID-19 is creating unique challenges for organisations with field-based workers who must continue providing vital support in the community.

“We looked at how best to minimise risk and recognised that an augmented video system would quickly provide organisations with a high-performing remote support function. It drastically reduces face-to-face contact in line with COVID-19 restrictions but does this without impacting negatively on safety or service levels.

“By working closely with us to develop this solution, East Lothian Housing Association and MCP Property Services have lived up to their reputations for innovation and dedication to the communities they serve.

“It’s now generating interest across many sectors as organisations realise that this sort of remote assistance will ultimately become the norm and fundamentally change the way they deliver services.”


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